Fire safety upgrades for ESTA Ballarat

The ESTA call centre in Ballarat is now safe from summer fire thanks to half-a-million dollars of fire safety systems installed at the site. 

FIRE READY: Craig Jenkins of S.J. Weir showing ESTA acting CEO, Ben Piper the new pump system.

FIRE READY: Craig Jenkins of S.J. Weir showing ESTA acting CEO, Ben Piper the new pump system.

The Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) State Emergency Communications Centre fields triple zero calls from all over the state.

The safety upgrades to the centre means on days of catastrophic fire danger, the employees will be able to remain in the building.

The members of the centre were facing the possibility of needing to evacuate on code red days due to the risk fire poses to the bushland around the centre.

The centre at Ballarat takes an average of 2500 triple zero calls daily and an evacuation would mean calls transferred to centres in Burwood and Docklands.

The new 90,000 litre water tank at the Ballarat ESTA call centre.

The new 90,000 litre water tank at the Ballarat ESTA call centre.

The upgrades, installed by Ballarat based builder S.J Weir, include a 90,000 litre water tank with a fast flow pump connected to a redundant power supply and misting sprinklers on the building’s roof. 

The sprinklers provide ember protection to the building’s windows, air conditioning units, doors and weep holes. 

A new steel tank has also been installed at the site to recycle water and a provide a secondary water source for CFA tankers in the area. 

As well as the new tanks, pumps and sprinklers, the system has new hose connections and higher water flow rate to help CFA crews battle any nearby blaze. 

Misting sprinklers protect the ESTA call centre from embers during a bushfire.

Misting sprinklers protect the ESTA call centre from embers during a bushfire.

ESTA acting CEO Ben Piper said upgrades to the safety of the Ballarat call centre means improved safety for everyone in the state.  

“Importantly for the safety of Victorians, these works reduce the likelihood of the Ballarat centre having to be evacuated on a high fire risk day,” he said.

“While we have strong redundancy across our other sites, the loss of Ballarat would impact triple zero service and this investment adds another layer of protection for the community.”

Mr Piper said input from emergency services has been critical in planning the needed upgrades. 

“Bushfire risk assessments in recent years identified that the centre was vulnerable in the event of a Code Red bushfire in the area,” Mr Piper said. 

“We have had expert assistance from our partners at the CFA and excellent assistance and support from our own people, many who are CFA and VICSES volunteers themselves,” he said.